Have you been thinking about becoming a beekeeper? There are many fabulous reasons to do so. See my post 10 Great Reasons to Become a Beekeeper. It is a hobby that has enriched my life, and my fruits and vegetables are now getting pollinated thanks to the bees! That said, there is a tremendous amount to learn and consider. So where do you start? Let’s start with beekeeping 101.
Try a Beekeeping Class
You just don’t want to pick up a book about beekeeping and then order some bees. No that won’t work. Instead I recommend that “wannabees” take a beekeeping class. Where? The cool thing is that many county beekeeper’s associations offer instructive classes. To find your county’s beekeeping association/club and website, just Google your county + beekeeping association.
Classes are often offered in early March here in New England, before the season begins, and will last for several weeks. My class was only $35. The class was so popular that they had over 300 future beekeepers take the class that year. My county’s beekeeping club provided us with tons of information, such as costs, the process of beekeeping, and how to keep your bees healthy. It will give you an overview of the process and help you decide if you are ready for the commitment of bees. My classes were “lecture” style. If you can find “hands-on” classes where they bring the class to hives, even better.
I would also recommend reaching out to a beekeeper to observe honey bees up close. Maybe you could ask that beekeeper that sells delicious raw honey at your farmer’s market. Or a friend of a friend who is a beekeeper? Let him or her know you are considering beekeeping and would love to shadow them. Most beekeepers are happy to educate anybody who will listen. And seeing the bees up close will likely give you one of two reactions, “Wow, that was really cool and I want to do that again!” or “That was interesting, but I don’t need to do that again.”
If you decide to be a beekeeper, this same beekeeper could also be your mentor. Having a mentor available for advice is really helpful when complex problems occur.
So who knows? Take a beekeeping class. It could be a sweet beginning.
Do you have any questions about beekeeping? Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below.